I told my husband the other day that writing felt like travelling through the levels of Dante's Inferno (okay, minus the eternal and unrelenting punishments). You start at the bottom, the 9th level, and slowly work your way up to the limbo stage...waiting perpetually for that call into the promised land of publication. But the weird thing is, you don't see it that way at the beginning...
When I first started submitting, it felt like a golden time. You send your baby into the void and know that someone, somewhere will think it's the best piece of literature since Shakespeare. You are blissfully unaware of the purgatory that awaits. Then, the first rejection comes. Okay, we still have some pieces out. We'll get it next time. Then the next rejection, then the next.
Before you know it, you've racked up quite a collection. You're thinking you won't need to buy wrapping paper next year. Then you realize it. You're at the bottom of the pit. You've got to scratch your way to the top. It won't be easy. Who were we trying to fool? Why did we think a little revision here, a fixed typo there, could get the job done?
I don't know what level I'm at now. I'm not a 9, but I don't think that I've reached Limbo yet. Maybe I'll give myself a 4. I've learned a ton, but there's a few pieces of the puzzle still out there. I hope they're not hard to find...maybe just hiding out under the couch.